An academic who was suspended by the University of Warwick at the start of the year is to be cleared of wrongdoing after an internal investigation, Times Higher Education understands.
Thomas Docherty, professor of English and comparative literature and a prominent critic of the marketisation of higher education, was suspended in January.
Although Warwick has not commented on his suspension, other than to deny that it is connected with his political views, THE revealed in July that Professor Docherty has been charged with undermining the authority of the former head of the English department, Catherine Bates.
Now copies of a Warwick tribunal report have been sent to parties involved in the case. Although the university said it would not comment on the outcome until the parties had responded, it is understood that Professor Docherty is to be cleared of all charges against him.
Professor Docherty, whose suspension had been lifted last month, said: “I’m looking forward to getting back to teaching, working with students and colleagues, and writing again, as normal.”
Dennis Leech, president of the University and College Union branch at Warwick, said “the fact that a member of the academic staff can be suspended for almost nine months and subject to such a protracted disciplinary process suggests that there is a need to review the governance of the university”.
He added that such a review was needed “not only from the point of view of fairness to the individual concerned who (and whose family) has had to live with the stress of being under a threat of dismissal all that time, but also from the institution’s own point of view as a university in which academic freedom is paramount”.
Professor Leech continued: “I hope the university will look again at how it can strengthen its procedures to protect and defend academic freedom, which this case exemplifies to be threatened from obtrusive managerialism.”
A Warwick spokesman said the university would issue a full statement in the coming days. He said the process had taken the length of time it did “in order to accommodate the specific requests and needs of all the participants in the process”.
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